Elon Musk buys 9 percent stake in Twitter

One of Twitter’s loudest critics and most prominent users is now one of its largest shareholders.

According to Twitter, Tesla boss Elon Musk has bought around 9.2 percent of Twitter an official filing Monday that details his stock purchases.

The stock-buying revelation comes as Musk emerges as one of the loudest and most prominent critics of Twitter’s moderation efforts, which have cracked down on everything from harassment and death threats to misinformation and conspiracy theories in recent years.

News of Musk’s move has sparked some hope among conservatives, who have criticized Twitter’s enforcement of rules and former President Donald Trump’s ban.

Musk, who the Bloomberg Billionaires Index who is listed as the world’s richest person, with a net worth of about $273 billion, has said on Twitter — where he regularly comments — that he’s “given” for the past few months.serious thought” to build a competitor of the company, and that the social media platform “failure to respect the principles of freedom of expression fundamentally undermines democracy.”

Musk’s stake in Twitter is considered a passive investment, meaning Musk is a long-term investor trying to minimize his buying and selling of the shares. But the sizable stake, coupled with Musk’s recent comments, suggests he may be trying to exercise some control over the company.

“We would expect this passive participation to be just the beginning of broader discussions with Twitter’s board/management that could ultimately lead to active participation and potentially more aggressive ownership by Twitter,” WedBush Securities’ Dan Ives wrote in an early note to clients Monday.

Shares of Twitter are up more than 25 percent ahead of the market Monday, while shares of Tesla are up slightly.

Musk has fallen out with regulators over his use of Twitter.

Earlier last month, Musk asked a federal judge to quash a subpoena from securities regulators and throw out a 2018 court agreement that required him to pre-authorize his posts on Twitter. At the time, US securities regulators said they had legal authority to subpoena Tesla and Musk over his tweets and that Musk’s move to overturn a 2018 court agreement that his tweets be pre-approved was not valid.

Musk’s criticism of Twitter – which is almost entirely on Twitter – has increased. In late March, he tweeted a poll asking people if they thought Twitter “rigorously adheres to the principles of free speech.” About 70 percent of the more than 2 million votes cast said “No”.

“The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully,” Musk added.

Should Musk try to influence Twitter, it would be the second activist shareholder push on the company in just a few years.

Elliott Management, an investment firm known for taking large stakes in companies and pushing for management changes, took a sizable stake in Twitter in early 2020 and pushed for the resignation of then-CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey could strike a deal with Elliott Management that allowed him to say for now.

Dorsey stepped down as CEO in November but remains on the company’s board. Elon Musk buys 9 percent stake in Twitter

Caroline Bleakley

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